Making Brands Human
To succeed in today’s consumer-driven marketplace, brands must engage with their audience as human beings rather than purely as potential customers. Making your brand more human is no small undertaking; it demands a willingness to forgo the more traditional, transactional approach to marketing in favor of building meaningful and enduring connections with your audience at every touchpoint.
These relationships must be reciprocal and ongoing; after all, consumers are real people with real challenges who think, feel, respond and emote in unique and unexpected ways—and who want to feel seen by the brands with which they interact.
Making brands human requires understanding and empathy in equal measure. To capture consumers’ hearts and minds, your organization must:
- Take a data-driven approach to understanding your audience and what truly matters to them.
- Demonstrate authenticity in the way you speak and transparency in what you say.
- Support potential customers at every touchpoint along the sales funnel.
- Act in accordance with a core purpose that resonates with both internal and external audiences.
Take a data-driven approach to understanding what truly matters to your customers.
The first step toward humanizing your brand is to build a foundational understanding of your target audience—including who they are and what truly matters to them.
Organizations often discover that this group is diverse rather than monolithic, reflecting nuanced needs in their interactions with the brand. Additional segmentation may be necessary to drill down deeper and better understand what is driving individual purchasing intent.
Understanding more about your customers’ behavior will help to ensure you communicate the right message to the right audience where, when and how they want to hear it. Read more about how your brand can better understand the person behind the data point.
Demonstrate authenticity in the way you speak and transparency in what you say.
To engage your audience on a human level, your brand must define and align on the attributes that make it unique—then establish a consistent and authentic tone of voice across all external communications, from email marketing to sales calls to social media posts and beyond.
This voice needs to resonate as real and relatable to your target audience and must be reflected through your messaging and the imagery you share. When used effectively, photography and videography can speak louder than words.
Transparency is critical too. Many consumers care deeply about an organization’s ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) practices and seek out brands that align with their values. Naturally, long-term loyalty is built not by saying what you think your audience wants to hear but by demonstrating that you truly understand their needs and share their values through your actions.
Support potential customers at every touchpoint.
Every touchpoint along the sales funnel is a critical opportunity to make a good impression. Strive to create value at each point of interaction with your audience to help make their experience a positive one.
Proactively anticipate potential questions and create infrastructure to gently guide customers toward relevant information to establish credibility and build your rapport. Treat your audience as individuals worthy of respect and each engagement as an opportunity to provide tangible value, and the conversions will follow.
Brands often overlook this process, but it can provide a significant return on investment when paired with a comprehensive brand strategy that includes a plan to generate leads and guide those leads from awareness to active brand advocacy.
Act in accordance with a core purpose.
Purpose is the beating heart and the lifeblood of every great brand. It is your DNA—defining who you are, what you believe, and the values that will guide any and all interactions with your audience.
Staying true to this purpose is absolutely critical; it is your most important asset in fostering internal alignment throughout the organization. It must be seen, understood, and—most importantly—felt by your target audience.
Brands build these connections by consistently delivering genuine, authentic and emotionally impactful experiences at every touchpoint, and they win brand loyalty in return. For more on the importance of brand purpose, watch our recent video podcast.